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Accreditation of financial planning course a STEP in the right direction

Deakin has become the first university in the world to offer a financial planning course with professional accreditation for estate planning, a vital component of the industry that is growing in line with Australia’s ageing population.

The leading international body for inheritance and succession planning, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), recently accredited Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning.

Professor of Practice in the Deakin Business School’s Department of Accounting Dr. Adam Steen said the accreditation had been awarded to Deakin because of the quality and depth of its teaching program.

“The accreditation will allow qualifying Deakin graduates to become members of an international community of highly-qualified estate planning professionals,” Professor Steen said.

“It also opens up further professional development opportunities over the course of their career.
“Estate planning is a massive industry, and the fastest growing area in financial services, particularly with Australia’s ageing population. The legislation around estate planning is also constantly changing, hence the need for professionals to engage in continuing education.”

Professor Steen said estate planning required skills in law, accounting and financial planning, hence the need for STEP accreditation.

“The accreditation will provide financial advisors an urgently needed education pathway to estate planning expertise, as well as opportunities for continuing support and professional development through the leading international body in the area,” he said.

STEP was founded in 1991 and has more than 100 branches and chapters in 56 countries, with a current membership of more than 20,000 worldwide.
Head of the STEP Education Steering Group Michael Fox said the group was delighted to be able to accredit a financial planning course in Australia that met STEP requirements.

“The accreditation provides a pathway to STEP membership for those who provide financial advice,” Mr Fox said.

“The evolution of the financial planning industry in the past few decades to move to more specialist areas such as estate planning is a crucial part in its development to becoming a true profession.

“STEP’s main focus is to promote high professional standards, to provide educational and networking opportunities for its members, and to contribute to debate and public policy in its specialist field.”

Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning is an eight unit course of study. On joining the course students can apply to become an Affiliate of STEP. Once a student has completed the programme they will be eligible to apply for full STEP membership. For more information, visit the Deakin website here.

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